Mercury (Hobart)

No room for rehab program in prison


A VITAL rehabilita­tion program to help prisoners get on top of their drug and alcohol problems had been suspended for months because a room could not be found to hold it in, parliament has heard.

Water damage to facilities at the prison – and a subsequent asbestos scare – have been blamed.

Independen­t MP for Clark Kristie Johnston said prisoners were missing out on opportunit­ies for rehabilita­tion for no good reason.

“Holyoake, who’ve been providing amazing service at the Risdon Prison ... have been unable to provide this important program because of a lack of a simple room in Risdon,” she said.

“The room they used has been damaged but unfortunat­ely the Attorney-General has been unable to relocate them to a different room, which means those offenders inside reason have been unable to access this life-changing program.”

Holyoake Tasmania chief executive Sarah Charlton said the program worked with eight to 12 inmates, depending on the space they were given.

But efforts to find a new venue for the program within the prison had been to no avail.

“We haven’t been able to access our clients inside Risdon prison for three months now,” she said.

“And we were told last week it would be at least another month until the room is available. I’ve been on the radio, and have written a piece in the local paper and have not had one response from anyone in Justice about this. I’m wondering how much interest they have.”

Correction­s Minister Elise Archer said a new room had been found and the program would resume next month.

“The Tasmania Prison Service has today confirmed that the program with Holyoake will recommence in early October,” she said.

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